Although we had all hoped for a quieter 2019 from an employment law perspective, since April a number of key changes have taken place which remain high on the agenda, amid the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit. This article from our partners at The HR Point highlights the key changes, and mentions a few topical items which are coming up on the horizon over the coming months…
Upcoming Employment Law Changes
Post-Brexit immigration rule changes
Regardless of whether a deal on the UK’s exit from the EU is agreed, the rules around the employment of EU nationals will change sooner or later.
Once the UK leaves the EU, essentially free movement will end and although in practice this is likely to be delayed and will take time to put practical arrangements in place, it is something all businesses should already be thinking about.
The government has introduced a scheme under which EU workers already in the UK will be able to apply for “settled status”, to be able to live and work in the UK indefinitely.
But, employers need to be aware that, going forward, the employment of workers from the EU is likely to be subject to restrictions in the same way as the employment of other foreign nationals, so you may need to think about adjusting your recruitment processes accordingly.
New Statutory rates coming into force April 2020
As many companies approach their budgeting period, it is worth being prudent and factoring some leeway for the new statutory rates that will come into effect on 6th April 2020.
There are changes to IR35 tax legislation from April 2020, especially important to be aware of if you employ self employed contracts as their tax status may change as a result and you could find your self liable for their tax! To check each contractors status you can use this link – https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/check-employment-status-for-tax/reason-for-using-tool
We advise you seek specialist tax advice to ensure your business is not at risk.
Start preparing for parental bereavement leave and pay
The government has confirmed that it intends to introduce a right for bereaved parents to take paid time off work. Under the current proposals, bereaved parents will be able to take leave as a single two-week period, as two separate periods of one week each, or as a single week and they will have 56 weeks from their child’s death to take leave.
The new right is expected to come into force in April 2020, but employers should start preparing for it during 2019. Now is a good time to get ahead of the game and introduce a bereavement leave policy if you don’t already have one.
There are other changes planned for 2020, however legislation is not available yet. So we will send further updates when we know more details.
Holiday Pay – In the latest decision about holiday pay, the Court of Appeal has held that both voluntary and non-guaranteed overtime must now be included in the calculation of holiday pay (for the first four weeks of holiday under the Working Time Directive) if it is considered to be sufficiently regular to amount to ‘normal remuneration’. Please check you have taken this into account (Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust)
Right to Work – Employers are responsible for checking all employees’ permission to live and work in the UK before they start work. Organisations recruiting overseas nationals already face a big challenge in avoiding red tape and staying on the right side of the law. Compliance in this area can be a headache as employers are required to take on significant responsibility in checking their employees’ immigration status in line with Immigration laws. Make sure you have a process and are on top of your responsibilities. A great free source of information regarding Right to Work can be found on the Gov.UK website. The Employer Checking Service will talk you through the process step by step and help you ensure you always meet your responsibilities. The form is also considered acceptable evidence of having checked an employees right to work – and it’s free. https://www.gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status
Have you made the two necessary changes affecting pay slip information, that came into force on 6 April 2019?
1. Employers are now required to include the total number of hours worked where the pay varies week by week or month by month detailing the hours worked, for example under variable hours or zero hours contract
2. Payslips must now be provided to ‘workers’ and not just employees.
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